Today: Matt Davis, regional coordinator for Minnesota and North Dakota in the North Country Trail Association.


I’m reading “Minnesota, 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State” by Curt Brown. The book seemed fitting this fall given that the stories played out exactly 100 years ago. He does a great job, in an easy-to-read narrative, of tying these three major events that helped shape today’s Minnesota.


The North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act in Congress. This bipartisan and undisputed legislation would change the official route of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT) in northeastern Minnesota, and also extend the NCT into Vermont to connect with the Appalachian Trail. My association has been working on these topics since 2007. We’ve come farther than ever — the House bill has passed. Unfortunately, we’re now waiting to see if it will move on during the lame-duck session of Congress before adjournment. Once the legislation passes, I and others will begin the long process to develop 150 miles of new trail between Remer and Ely.


Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone.” I am fascinated by the mythic American West. The show addresses many contemporary issues through interesting characters, and also features amazing western scenery. I also recently watched the documentary film “Saving Snow” because I am a big winter silent sports participant (downhill skier, snowshoer, “ski-shoer”). I’m deeply concerned about the future of winter silent sports in Minnesota because of climate change.


As part of my job, I am preparing some programs this winter to help more people experience snowshoeing and ski-shoeing (skishoes are a hybrid between cross-country skis and snowshoes) to facilitate more winter use of the NCT. I am also working with a trail association team on a report for the Superior Hiking Trail Association’s Trail Renewal project. Our trail association was hired as a contractor to assess four of the Superior Hiking Trail’s “Big Bad Five” sections and present possible remedies.